In a jobless economic recovery surely a measure known as the "Cash for Caulkers" bill would provide jobs for the building industry and help those currently underemployed or out of work. The unemployment rate in the construction industry is about triple the current overall unemployment rate.
The legislation needs Senate approval but little has happened to The Home Star Act of 2010 since May, when the House passed the measure.
Home Star would create jobs in the building industry and renewable energy sector "by providing short-term incentives for energy efficient improvements in residential buildings," according to the Home Star Coalition (www.homestarcoalition.org), a coalition of business owners that pushed for the bill.
"Among the provisions of the legislation is the creation of a $6 billion rebate program to encourage inmmediate investment in energy efficient appliances, building mechanical systems and insulation, and whole home energy effiiency retrofits," the coalition reported. Manufacturers of energy conserving products would also benefit from the program as would consultants, contractors and building scientists.
To keep up on the status or the legislation or show your support, here is a great site to visit: www.efficiencyfirst.org/home-star/. There needs to be more support from those who will benefit from the a better economy as the trend leading up to the mid-term elections is to distrust government incentives. I'm not sure why people think this way when you look at the incredible amount of federal money that pours into the corporations selling us fossil fuels. Where is the "free market" in that?
When the car manufacturing industry was about to go bust, there was the Cash for Clunkers measure that in combination with the government bailouts of the car makers does seem to have helped the car industry and leveled off job losses within that sector. The first-time home buyers incentives, which have now expired, did boost home sales for a while. Still, both did not do what a Home Star bill can do and that's leave the country's housing stock (more than 100 million households) more efficient. Many of the new cars bought were not exactly fuel savers and nor were most of the homes sold to first time homeowners.
The Home Star legislation would not only save money for homeowners, it would help the environment through a reduction of energy generated from fossil fuels and create jobs for Americans.
The initiative is apart from the energy tax credit of up to $1500 that was part of the stimulus act in 2009. That credit for energy effiency upgrades expires Dec. 31.
Supporters estimate that 3 million households would make use of the new program, saving $9.2 billionin energy costs over a 10-year period, according to a USA Today report in May. They said it would create 168,000 jobs, mainly for the construction industry.
Critics of the bill, said the government cannot administer the rebate program fairly and a $4.7 billion weatherization program within the economic stimulus act was slow to provide grants to states, the USA Today report stated.
Under Home Star, home owners would save money to create more efficient households from an environmental and economic standpoint. Homeowners (or consumers) would save on monthly energy bills from now until their energy efficient product wear out.
The rebates or discounts would be provided to homeowners at the time of sale. The retailer or contractor then would submit documentation to a processing office, which would verify the informationa nd foread the requiest to the Energy Department for payment.
To me, this seems like a win-win for the economy. So what is the Senate waiting for. Oh yeah, mid-term election fever and partisan politics.
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Tags: Home Star, Cash for Caulkers, Energy Retrofits, Energy Efficiency, Construction Jobs, Building Industry, Building Product Marketing